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Gotta have more Carbon!

 
Greg McIver
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Patrick Whitefield's discussion on more carbon in the soil prompts this post. More carbon in the soil is necessary as is more carbon di-oxide in the atmosphere for more optimal growing.

Scientifically is what I'm talking here. Were not the organic materials of petroleum, coal, and methane available in the carbon cycle before being buried, captured, sequestered, frozen or in whatever form, away from the atmosphere? Oil was at one time living material, coal used to be trees etc, natural gas and frozen methane has passed through a biological process to be formed, just as microbes form the gas that we as humans pass. When all these things were trapped, some scientists say by ancient impact etc., their circulation was taken out of the environmental mix, causing a lowering of the available carbon in the overall cycle, whether in the soil or atmosphere.

It is a know fact that more co2 available to plants in the air and carbon in the form of humus in the soil, make plants grow much better.

I used to grow alfalfa and radish sprouts and delivered them to customers up and down the Oregon coast. As I did a little research on how to get better growth, I learned that greenhouse growers consistantly use higher concentration of co2 in the controled environment for much better growth. We are at about 390 parts per million of co2 right now in the atmosphere. I know anciently that plants and animals both grew much larger, such as in gigantic fossilized crocodiles etc. Is there a correlation between plant and animal size and atmospheric co2?

What do you think of this video?

 
Patrick Whitefield
Author
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Location: Britain
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Hello Greg,

I think there's a difference between what we do in a greenhouse and what we do to the entire planet. I think the summer you've just had in North America gives food for thought.

Best wishes, Patrick
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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The warming effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide may outweigh the benefits to plants, as most plants have temperature preferences and temperatures over a certain point may inhibit growth. High temperatures also affect pollination.



 
Devon Olsen
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personally i dont believe that CO2 is a bad thing either, i think that CO2 is a natural product of the earth and living things on it, and that it is natural, right and safe to have CO2 in the environement, studies have shown that every few hundred years there are spike of CO2 in the atmosphere, we are simply at another spike imho

that doesnt mean that the planet isnt being polluted and or altered by human activities but i do not believe it is CO2 that is altering it
 
William Roan
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Remember when Global Warming scientists were trying to be conservative and predicted that the world temperature would go up a few degrees over the next 100 years.
Well not to be an alarmist, but one of my colleagues just returned from a World Climate Change Conference and he reports that the predictions have changed.
The time to reverse our CO2 production was when that alarmist Al Gore made his movie. The updated weather models are predicting the life style that we enjoy today will be unrecognizable in 30 years and in 50 years the planet will be uninhabitable to most humans.
This web site might better explain how CO2 in the atmosphere will affect plants.
http://www.skepticalscience.com/Increasing-Carbon-Dioxide-is-not-good-for-plants.html

If Co2 is good for outdoor gardens and plants why isn’t everyone growing giant
fruits and vegetables?
Apple trees should be growing to the size of Redswood with fruits the size of pumpkins . Do you think fruits and vegetable have increased in size over the past 200 years, since the start of the industrial age?
Biology Bill
 
Greg McIver
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Biology Bill, the skepticalscience site mentions tests without much detail. If a plant is stimulated without the full support of a healthy ecosystem, I would expect plant weakness and the bugs would do their job and attack. The difference of co2 has not increased to the degree in the video so I wouldn't expect redwood sized apple trees. We are at about 380 to 390 ppm now.

There are a few field studies showing that since the industrial age, some American grasslands have increased growth of woody shrubs from mainly grass. It appears to be a progression. Not sure what size produce has been pre-industrial age.

As some of my favorite permaculturalists such as sepp holzer and Geoff Lawton say, reforestation changes the climate and rainfall for the better. Was it Borneo that had an increase of rainfall by 20% with massive re-forestation. I'm sure that had an effect on the temperature.

Historically in the Roman times, north Africa was recorded as a bread basket, a very productive place. Since those times, people have overgrazed, cut down trees and desertification set in. I'm sure that re-forestation the permacultre way would affect temperatures greatly. geoff lawton showed how he affected the 10 acre site 2 kilometers from the Dead Sea in Jordan. He didn't mention temperature records. Given time and lager areas, I'm sure the temperature would be more tempered. His study also of the Arizona desert showed a great change that can take place. I also witnessed in Arizona, that the landscapes that were not barren had a severe tempering of the highs.

Also, I have yet to discover any scientist that has calculated what the ppm would be if all the trapped oil, coal, frozen methane and natural gas were again in circulation or what it was before it was trapped.
 
Marc Troyka
pollinator
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I've actually done a lot of research, especially on geological ages and such, asking the same questions.

Some stuff I found:
-The oldest coal beds come from the first period in which true trees appear. At that time there were no organisms around that could digest lignin effectively, so it piled up in the soil over long periods of time.

-Later coal beds formed in similar ways to modern conditions. Generally, in colder climates, peat bogs build up material due to waterlogging and high acidity preventing complete breakdown of organic material. This occurs in bogs, swamps, in tropical forests in Africa where they receive excessive rain every year, and in places like the UK where there is plenty of rain and underlying rocks which hold lots of water.

-Methane comes out of bogs and things, but it is decomposed in the atmosphere by UV radiation within about 10 years. Methane is also involved in the formation of atmospheric ozone. Most of the stable methane on earth occurs near the ocean floor, where anaerobes break down detritus that falls from photic zones above, and where the water pressure is so high that the methane bubbles condense and are trapped.

For the global warming theorists:

During most of earth's history the earth was warmer and more humid than it is today. Also, polar regions such as Antarctica historically have been ice-free for most of the year. The fact that the ice caps and greenland ice sheet persist is the defining marker of an ice age, which we are currently experiencing (albeit taking a short break from glaciation). If you think global warming is scary, consider what a glaciation would be like:

Once a glaciation begins it becomes a runaway process. Within 10-20 years, almost without warning, miles-thick ice sheets descend from the poles and build up to cover and crush most of the continental area that humans currently occupy. This includes all of Canada, most of the US, a lot of South America nearly to Brazil, most or all of inhabited Europe, most of China, and possibly some of Africa as well. The seas retreat as the water is distributed onto the continents as ice, and in the remaining un-iced areas rain becomes scarce. A permanent El Niño occurs, and these conditions persist for usually 50-100 thousand years before another short "interglacial" like we see today. The entire ice age lasts around 100-150 million years.

IMO most of the problems we see today are caused by destruction of topsoil by plowing, deforestation which changes the microclimate unfavorably, and abuse of groundwater resources.

As for the questions about CO2 and plant growth, under sunlight and warm conditions plants can grow up to twice as fast, with up to 1500ppm CO2. CO2 concentrations have little effect on animal life, although high CO2 disturbs oceanic life forms as the acidity prevents proper formation of calciferous parts. O2 concentrations have varied much more than CO2, with CO2 ranging from about 4500ppm before plants colonized the land, to about 2200ppm afterwards, and much lower today. O2 affects animals (esp insects) to a much greater degree. The highest recorded O2 levels were ~32%, occurring in the Carboniferous period, whence the largest insects ever discovered lived.

Apparently a lot of CO2 and O2 gets sucked up by rocks, forming oxides (like rust) and a variety of carbonates. I have no idea where all of that O2 went, or why O2 levels dropped so much more than CO2 levels did. I have yet to see a good explanation or any proof, and it doesn't seem to be a big question that paleontologists pay attention to.
 
William Roan
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Hi Greg McIver
This is one of those topics where we should sit down and have a couple of beers and truly discuss this topic. You mentioned in your second posting (that the web site I posted) “skepticalscience site mentions tests without much detail”.
Fair enough, I posted the Skepticalscience article because it gives a few simplistic examples of the concerns that many weather change scientist have and are predicting.
So if I may, I would like to review your own material and hold it to the same standards. Your Video is titled “Seeing is believing”, suggesting that after watching it I will be convinced of something.
It covers the classic CO2 experiment, conducted in many College Botany and greenhouse labs. The CO2 enhanced plant does better, then the control plant.
Important information for greenhouse farmers, who grow in the safety of a greenhouse, with its climate controlled environment, automatic shading and watering devices.
But at the end of the video, the author of the video concludes from this simplistic experiment that “Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant”. Don’t you think this is a monumental leap of faith, to believe this particular greenhouse experiment is conclusive evidence to what is happening out in the real world? Shouldn’t the conclusion be “Plants grown in a greenhouse, in an enhanced CO2 environment will produce more Biomass”?
I would like to see the video author conduct this experiment outside, let’s say on Tyler Laden’s drought prone Texas property. Dig your hole, fill it with commercial potting soil, cover with plastic, hook up a climate controlled, automatic watering and shade device, plant your seed and add the pressurized CO2. For the control drop a seed on the ground, walk away and let nature do the rest. What do you think the outcome would be? Would the new video conclude, that “Plants maintained by humans do better in a controlled environment, with enhanced CO2”?


Now let’s look at the producer of the video CRAIG D. IDSO, he has an impressive resume, teaching at several community colleges.
He is the former Director of Environmental Science at Peabody Energy, the largest private-sector coal company in the world.
Idso is a lead author of the reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), a project sponsored by the Heartland Institute. An unauthorized release of documents indicates Idso received $11,600 per month in 2012 from the Heartland Institute.
One of the shocking things my colleague has seen at these World Climate Change Conference, is out in the lobby energy companies rent display space and offer $25,000 research grants to any scientist that is willing to study Global warming.
As long as they conclude in favor of the energy companies and “Atmospheric CO2 is not a pollutant”.
So Greg McIver, raise my glass of beer to you and ask, Are you hired to come onto this web site to greenwash the science of CO2?
BiologyBill
 
Marc Troyka
pollinator
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Location: East Central GA, Ultisol, Zone 8, Humid
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Running an outdoor CO2 experiment would be impractical, to say the least, but it isn't necessary in order to prove that plants grow better with elevated CO2. In areas which are flooded with CO2 by volcanic activity, plants grow vigorously and practically glowing green. Animals that wander into the same area die from lack of oxygen.

However, there is not enough carbon within accessible reach of humans to raise CO2 levels even to the levels that have occurred historically. We probably could not reach 1000ppm, which would not be enough to have a toxic effect on anything, whereas natural volcanic and other events have pushed CO2 levels up by 1500ppm or more. CO2 certainly may have an effect on climate, but pollutant? No, CO2 is not sulfuric acid or ozone or chlorine, it doesn't cause cancer, it isn't harmful to most organisms in the concentrations we find in the atmosphere, and it's an integral part of the carbon cycle, releasing carbon that has been unavailable to life for hundreds of millions of years.
 
Greg McIver
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Dear Biology Bill,

That would definitely be a sweet gig to be on this forum and make money for posting my thoughts.
However, I am a working class stiff without anyone even TRYING to bribe or issue grants to me. (Sure, that's what all the posers for the petrochemical conspirators say, huh?)

I like your comment about the video, "Shouldn’t the conclusion be “Plants grown in a greenhouse, in an enhanced CO2 environment will produce more Biomass”?"

I agree.

I actually have met Craig Idso's father, Sherman Idso, when I lived in Arizona and have seen some of his backyard experiments. I met him because coincidentally was friends with his daughter at the time and was interested to meet him as she told me about her family. I didn't pick up any dishonesty during or after my brief encounters or I wouldn't bother posting from their source. Sherman is the one who started the co2 research stuff in his family which I believe started decades before any grants were involved. I do not support or defend any dishonest research in the name of anything. Truth is my bottom line. There seems to be WAY too much scientific dishonesty these days on whatever the issue or motivation.

I'm relatively new to the Permaculture scene. I love science and am trying to question at the micro and macro scale the stuff that was shoved down my throat from my "brick in the wall" public educational upbringing. The current public education is full of myths and fables and is mostly ignoring Nature and for sure Permaculture. I'm NOT a proponent for Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Brother or any of that anti-freedom crap. As a matter of personal passion, I believe that most if not all of the health issues would be resolved eventually if all of our food and water were fully optimized.

I've study science a bit and admire revolutionaries such as sepp holzer, Bill Mollison, Geoff Lawton and others, as what I consider modern day geniuses for rehabilitating mankind's poor stewardship of the earth. I do have a passion for honestly and civilly questioning everything. I would love to have the actual laws of Nature fully taught in a fully functional educational system. I can dream can't I?

I live north of Dallas. Perhaps we may be able to meet sometime.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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My understanding is that plants in a pure CO2 environment would die.

If you want to see even better growth, cut back on the N in the air and boost the O2 also. Plants need oxygen too. Especially at night.

To me, this doesn't seem like permaculture. It seems like growing plants in a laboratory. So I immediately question the value of plants grown this way. It also seems like added expense and work, which also doesn't seem like permaculture.

So, this whole "how to fuck with plants in a laboratory to make them bigger" thread doesn't seem appropriate for the permaculture forum. Where is the polyculture? The edge? The symbiotic relationship with nature? Growing plants in a greenhouse seems more like "organic", and buying bottles of CO2 and pushing that into a greenhouse seems like it might be OMRI approved. So I'm moving this thread out of the permaculture forum and into the organic forum.

Further, while greenhouse gas stuff is important, it falls into politics and social justice. That sort of thing should be posted there (and comply with the rules of that forum).

And accounts with names that violate the naming policy on permies.com will be locked.
 
Devon Olsen
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^ though i agree introducing CO2 with tanks is not permaculture and is indeed REDICULOUS, i believe it has relevance in poermaculture as a damn good reason to have lots of fungus growing with your plants as mushrooms turn O2 into CO2
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